Although Honda referred to this car as a concept, it also stated that "90 percent of what you see [here] will be in the production version," which is why this is being categorized as a production vehicle in our coverage.
We imagine most will agree that this sleek coupe's body is a big improvement over the snub-nosed breadbox design of the current Civic Si hatchback. We're on the fence about the black hood and the wing on the back. But then again, most of us have 10 or 20 years on the target demographic.
A number of other high-performance features were readily apparent on the Si, such as the drilled brake discs with Brembo calipers, the 18-inch wheels shod with low-profile performance rubber and the center-mounted exhaust outlets.
Under the hood beats the strong heart of a 200-horsepower, i-VTEC (intelligent variable valve timing) inline four, which, in Si tradition, has a lofty 8,000-rpm redline. No displacement was given, but we're guessing it's the same 2.0-liter mill found in the Acura RSX Type-S but with 10 less ponies. After all, can't have the Civic showing up its uptown cousin, can we? A six-speed manual gearbox sends the thrust to the front wheels through a limited-slip differential.
As a teaser to the assembled journalists, the Honda reps played a soundtrack of the Civic Si's engine being wound out as the driver blasted up through the gears. Judging by what we heard, and the claim by Honda that this was essentially a production setup, there won't be a need to make any mods if you like a full growling exhaust note.
The Civic Si will make its official debut at this year's SEMA show, most appropriate given that the Civic's long-standing status as the darling of the compact car tuner world.
We're glad to see the Si return as a stylish coupe, and of course we're overjoyed that they pumped up the power. And if the Brembo brakes and 18-inch wheels make it to production, all the better. John DiPietro